By Mary Dougherty
To quote former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, "The most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of private citizen."
As private citizens, we have responsibilities in our society. One of the most important is to vote. Take the time to become informed about the candidates running for office – and vote. Please vote.
Early voting is underway for the Aug. 23 primary and many local offices will be decided, so please do your civic duty and vote in the primary. Don’t just wait for the general election in November.
Yes, big elections for Congress and Governor will be on the November ballot, but the offices closest to the people will be on the Aug. 23 primary ballot. These local offices most directly affect your daily lives. They decide what you will pay in property taxes, sales tax and a local gas tax. They oversee the conditions of your roads, your water and your trash collection. Many things we take for granted day to day as long as they are running properly.
The ballot contains primaries for City Commission seats, County Commission seats, School Board seats, Charter Review Board and, though they often fly under the radar, Hospital Board seats. These elections represent the government closest to the people and their everyday lives. For example, by every metric, we have an exemplary hospital system. The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX) is grateful for the commitment to the local economy shown by the current leadership at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Sarasota Memorial Hospital expansions have not only resulted greater medical care in the community, but $1 billion of construction. Due to the current leadership’s commitment to local industry, those dollars have been reinvested in local businesses and strengthened the local economy.
We are fortunate locally to have honest and honorable men filling the role of Supervisor of Elections in both Manatee and Sarasota Counties. I am fortunate to have known both of these individuals for many years and I am certain they run elections where every vote counts as it was intended by the citizen that cast the ballot.
So, please do your research. Please don’t base your decision solely on negative campaign material. Take some time to form your own opinion. Then vote, feeling certain that your vote will be counted and make a difference.